Florida State's quest to make its first College Football Playoff since 2014 came to a heartbreaking end on Sunday when the CFP Selection Committee left them out of the four-team field despite a 13-0 record and a win over Louisville in the ACC Championship Game. The snub marks the first time in the 10-year history of the College Football Playoff that an undefeated Power Five conference champion has been left out of the field. Florida State finished at No. 5 in the final CFP Rankings, one spot behind No. 4 Alabama.
Immediately following the reveal, Florida State athletic director Michael Alford released a scathing statement in which he took the selection committee to task over the decision.
"The consequences of giving in to a narrative of the moment are destructive, far reaching, and permanent. Not just for Florida State, but college football as a whole. The argument of whether a team is the 'most deserving OR best' is a false equivalence. It renders the season up to yesterday irrelevant and significantly damages the legitimacy of the College Football Playoff. The 2023 Florida State Seminoles are the epitome of a total TEAM. To eliminate them from a chance to compete for a national championship is an unwarranted injustice that shows complete disregard and disrespect for their performance and accomplishments. It is unforgivable.
A primary reason Florida State was left out was the absence of star quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Jordan Travis, who suffered a devastating leg injury in Week 11 against North Alabama. Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker came in to lead the 'Noles to a Week 12 win over rival Florida but suffered a head injury in the second half. That left third-string quarterback Brock Glenn in command for the ACC Championship Game win over Louisville on Saturday.
Alfrod views that as a feature of the 'Noles, not a bug.
"The fact that this team has continued to close out victories in dominant fashion facing our current quarterback situation should have ENHANCED our case to get a playoff berth EARNED on the field," he said. "Instead, the committee decided to elevate themselves and 'make history' today by departing from what makes this sport great by excluding an undefeated Power 5 conference champion for the first time since the advent of the BCS/CFP era that began 25 years ago. This ridiculous decision is a departure from the competitive expectations that have stood the test of time in college football."
"Wins matter. Losses matter. Those that compete in the arena know this," he said. "Those on the committee who also competed in the sport and should have known this have forgotten it. Today, they changed the way success is assessed in college football, from a tangible metric - winning on the field -- to an intangible, subjective one. Evidently, predicting the future matters more. For many of us, today's decision by the committee has forever damaged the credibility of the institution that is the College Football Playoff. And, saddest of all, it was self-inflicted. They chose predictive competitiveness over proven performance; subjectivity over fact. They have become a committee of prognosticators. They have abandoned their responsibility by discarding their purpose – to evaluate performance on the field. Our players, coaches, and fans - as well as all those who love this sport - deserve better. The committee failed college football today."